Thunder fans, now would be a good time to locate the mute button on your remotes and familiarize yourselves with the unfollow button on your various social media platforms.
Talk about the Kevin Durant Sweepstakes is kicking into high gear.
Yes, the Thunder superstar is still two years away from becoming a free agent. Yes, it seems a wee bit crazy that the clock is already ticking down to DD-Day — Durant’s Decision Day. But it was evident earlier this week that the speculation has been turned up a notch.
The Knicks hired Derek Fisher on Tuesday, one of the biggest stories in one of the world’s biggest media markets involving one of basketball’s proudest franchises. And among the first-day story lines — the notion that the hiring was motivated in part to lure Durant to New York.
Fisher, you see, is a guy who Durant came to like during the elder guard’s time with the Thunder, and when Durant was among the first to congratulate Fisher via Twitter, even calling him “bro,” well, of course, that had to be a sign.
Durant must want to play for Fisher!
Never mind the fact that KD seems to like just about everyone with whom he comes in contact. I mean, he hugs the gray-haired gals who work as ushers at The Peake.
That must mean he wants to stay in Oklahoma City!
Brace yourselves, Thunder fans. This is only the beginning. For the next two years, any major move by any franchise that might be a player in 2016 free agency is likely to come with a Durant subtext. Pundits will offer opinions. Insiders will seek clarity.
After Fisher’s hiring in New York became official, for example, ESPN.com’s Ian Begley reported a league source believes that Fisher’s presence could help the Knicks land Durant should he leave the Thunder.
“It will definitely be a factor,” the source said.
The source went on to say of KD: “He only wants to win a championship.”
Well, no kidding. But the Thunder is way closer to winning a title than the Knicks are right now. So, does that mean something? Or if Durant wins a title in OKC in the next couple years, does that mean he stays? Or if he doesn’t, does that mean he goes?
And what about the things that Durant said over the last month of the postseason? The day he accepted the MVP, he called this the “perfect place for me,” then said of Oklahoma, “The grass is not always greener on the other side.” And the night that the Spurs eliminated the Thunder from the Western Conference Finals, Durant called Oklahoma City “our city.” Does any of that mean anything?
Before Durant signed his current contract with the Thunder, he always spoke highly of the city and the organization. Could this be more foreshadowing?
Or is it all just talk?
I’m telling you, Thunder Nation, your head is going to be spinning for the next couple years if you attempt to read between every line and cut up every tea leaf.
My advice: Don’t do it.
Full disclosure: I can’t guarantee that here at Oklahoman headquarters we won’t do those things every once in a while. It’s so tempting, after all.
This summer alone, there are all sorts of high-profile and big-spending franchises going through transformations. The Knicks are now led by Phil Jackson, one of the greatest basketball minds on the planet, and are trying to figure out what to do with Carmelo Anthony. The Lakers are still in pursuit of a coach while everyone has an eye on the day when Kobe Bryant will retire. The Clippers are soon to be under new ownership and on the cusp of signing a new TV deal that is bound to overflow the coffers. Miami has to be more focused on the future than ever with the clock ticking on the Big Three and San Antonio giving them a beatdown in the NBA Finals.
And as every one of those franchises moves and shakes, you can be sure that Durant will be part of the story lines.
Listen, the next couple of years are going to be an endless stream of questions about Durant’s future in Oklahoma City. You will drive yourself stark raving mad if you listen to all of them. And trying to answer them? The harsh and maddening reality is that until we’re much closer to when Durant is actually a free agent, most of those questions are going to be unanswerable.
So, wear out those mute buttons and use that unfollow function, Thunder fans. You won’t be able to entirely ignore the talk about the KD Sweepstakes, but you might just be able to keep your sanity.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.